Atiku Rejects Buhari’s Plan to Deploy Soldiers for Elections - Green White Green -


Atiku Rejects Buhari’s Plan to Deploy Soldiers for Elections



The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to deploy soldiers for  the 2019 general elections due to start on Saturday, saying it is an anomaly to use the military for elections  in a democracy.

 In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the PDP Presidential Candidate condemned the intimidation tactics of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government, wondering why soldiers who are trained to fight wars are being drafted into a purely civil matter like elections.

Responding to the remarks by President Buhari that military and the police will be well mobilized to stamp out rigging and thuggery, Atiku said the deployment of troops creates an atmosphere of warfare, which in turn heats up the polity, which is why it is not a common occurrence in other climes during elections.

Atiku also kicked against arrest of perceived members of the opposition ahead of elections, describing it as anti democratic.

 “We were shocked to hear General Buhari live on national television threatening to kill people for an offense where no such proscription exists under law.  The last time we looked the death-penalty was not a sanction of the 2010 Election Act. In fact, threatening people with death in the context of an election is incitement to electoral violence, which is an offense under that Act,” Atiku said.

 The former Vice President however said he was not surprised that such a remark was coming from the leader of a political party that has threatened that foreigners who intervene in the forthcoming elections should be sent home in body bags.

Atiku said the reason the APC-controlled federal government will want to deploy the military is not to stem the rising cases of violence but for the simple reason that the APC wants to use the military to intimidate the opposition and pave the way for rigging.

He said the PDP is committed to free and fair elections but would never threaten people with their lives for contravening any law where that sanction was not proscribed under law.  

“Once again General Buhari is showing his true colours and complete disregard for our Constitution and the laws of this country. He is getting confused with when he was President under military rule.  His fig leaf of being a ‘reformed democrat’ has been blown away by this latest statement leaving his democratic credentials as naked as the day he was born,” the statement said.

The statement recalled that during his interview on The Candidates last month, Atiku hinted of the establishment of the Electoral Fraud Commission (EFC) to deal (according to the laws of the land) with matters relating to electoral offences.

“I have always been a democrat and defender of our laws and constitution.  So rather than make up new penalties on the spot in a press conference, our plans to establish the EFC by using the framework of the 2002 Establishing Act of the EFCC have been well researched so that we can introduce this new entity within days of assuming office.  

“Likewise, we do not believe in the principle of retrospective legislation so it will be empowered to investigate and prosecute electoral malpractice based on the 2010 Electoral Act.  Any person considering conducting electoral malpractice, inciting violence or the illegal arrest of political opponents should be put on notice that my administration on entering office will apply the full force of the law on them.  We do not believe that one illegal act deserves another so a PDP Government will always operate within the framework of our legal structures and laws,” Atiku said.

Atiku called on local and international observers to pay a very close attention to the role the soldiers will play at the polls, saying elections can only be declared free and fair if they are held in an atmosphere conducive for voters to exercise their constitutional rights.

 He also warned against the continued use of the military for mundane internal matters, saying over-exposure of the military in a democracy has its inherent dangers.

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